The Rassler 2.0 is a stylish mid-top shoe, offering ankle support for long hikes and difficult approaches, whilst providing protection from ankle bashing canyons. Their patented G.ss rubber outsoles are just as sticky if not stickier than Five Ten’s Stealth Rubber.
The La Sportiva TX3 is one of the most recommended shoes for canyoneering and have earned the place over the years. They’re super durable and are as sticky on wet surfaces than on dry. They’re also spacier than most other canyoneering shoes, a must-have if you have wider feet.
Finding the best shoes for canyoneering can be difficult. Most canyoneering trips require you to hike, swim, rappel, abseil and scramble. That’s a lot of different environments for one shoe to get right.
That might be why most shoes don’t actually market themselves as a canyoneering shoe. In fact, most of the best shoes for canyoneering aren’t specifically for canyoning but have proven to be up to the task through testing.
More canyoneering goodness:
Hiking requires the shoe to be supportive and comfortable, swimming requires the shoe to be lightweight and fast-drying and scrambling and rappelling require the shoe to stick like sh*t to rock.
Some canyoneering shoes are best for the wet environments involved in canyoneering. Whilst others are best for dry parts of a canyon such as dedicated approach shoes.
And some of them do a pretty good job in all environments.
It all gets pretty confusing doesn’t it? Fear not…
Let’s take a look at the 9 best shoes for canyoneering and review their pros and cons.
The Astral Rassler 2.0’s are some of the most thoughtful canyoneering shoes ever created.
Whilst some of the most popular canyoneering shoes such as the 5.10 Canyoneer and the Arc’teryx Acrux FL have been discontinued, Astral instead has been improving and refining their Rassler canyoneering shoe. The Rassler 2.0 is more rugged, more lightweight, faster drying, and quick draining. The soles are also improved, with extra abrasion-resistance and better grip.
The Rasslers are a nice mid-top shoe, perfect for protecting your ankles from a battering against canyon surfaces and giving ankle support for longer hikes and dodgy terrain.
They’re also ideal for wet canyons. Their Granite Grip 2.0 soles are made for smooth, wet and rocky surfaces, while the shoe itself has holes in the front and back for water drainage, a hydrophobic quick-drying canvas outer with mesh tongue and water-resistant laces.
The grip on the Rassler 2.0 is second to none in wet conditions. It gives you more confidence to tackle more difficult canyon’s as you really trust the shoe to stick to sketchy, slippery surfaces.
The Rassler is also one of the best water shoes for canyoneering due to their difficulty to get on and off. Whilst it might be annoying in some instances, it is a dream when you’re in rough waters. The laces have never come undone, and the shoes have never come off nor loose.
The only downside to the Rassler is the mesh tongue. Whilst it’s great for breathability and quick-drying, it allows sand and small stones into the shoe very easily. So if you plan to go canyoneering in sandy environments such as Zion, these may not be your best bet. Though if you can handle sand in your boots, there’s nothing else they aren’t great for.
The La Sportiva TX3’s are the best canyoneering shoes for most canyons you’ll ever tackle. Whilst they’re not perfect in every aspect, no other shoe beats them overall. They’re super comfy, cushy and have excellent grip.
The TX3’s use Vibram’s Megagrip technology. Megagrip is basically a rubber compound designed to be “sticky” on both wet and dry surfaces equally. It’s also extremely hardy and abrasion-resistant. Perfect for those harsh canyons that shred standard shoes.
The only places the shoes aren’t really good for are particularly sandy canyons such as Zion as the sand easily gets in through the mesh upper. Also being a low-top shoe they’re not ideal for ankle basher canyons.
The TX3’s are great if you have wider feet. Many La Sportiva shoes are usually narrow and not suitable for anyone with a wider foot, but the TX3’s are different. They fit a wider forefoot perfectly. Giving you more comfort and stability.
The Adidas Hydro Lace shoes are a direct replacement to the Five Ten Canyoneers. They are one of the best canyoneering boots still produced by Adidas that use Stealth Rubber technology.
Most other Stealth Rubber Adidas shoes that were great for canyoneering are no longer in production. For instance, the Adidas Terrex Scope GTX and the Adidas Terrex Solo are two of our all-time favorite canyoneering shoes that are no longer widely available.
But, maybe the Hydro-Lace boots are all we really need? If you do most of your canyoneering in wet canyons or you lived for the Canyoneers, this will probably be the case.
Being a dedicated canyoneering shoe, they cover most terrains well. But particularly wet, rocky terrain. The stealth rubber grips like nothing you’ve ever experienced before to slick rock, while the neoprene lining makes enduring a day with wet feet warm and comfortable.
Another fantastic option from Astral. While not advertised as a canyoneering shoe like the Rassler 2.0, there are a plethora of reasons why the Hiyak is one of the best shoes for canyoneering.
The Hiyak is marketed as a water and boat shoe. Being made for use with boats, the outsole has an amazing grip on wet, slick surfaces. In fact, the outsole is made with Astral’s proprietary G.ss rubber, the same material used on the canyoneering specific Rassler 2.0.
Astral actually used to use Stealth Rubber for the soles of their shoes, but when Five Ten were purchased by Adidas, the availability of use to third-parties declined. Astral went out and created a compound that many people say is far better in terms of grip and wear than Stealth Rubber. And we would have to agree. The G.ss rubber sticks to wet rock in an almost unearthly manner.
The Hiyak is quick-drying and fast draining. The upper of the shoe is made of a hydrophobic, quick-dry canvas with water-resistant laces and a velcro over flap. There are drain holes at the toe and heel for fast draining. The only downside to the dedicated drain holes is that they have a tendency to allow in a load of sand. All sounds very similar to the Rassler doesn’t it?
Except for one thing…
The Hiyak uses a velcro over flap to stop the laces from untying, something the Rassler 2.0 is missing. While the Rassler 2.0 laces have never come undone, even in rough waters, it would be nice to have the velcro over flap for added security.
The Hiyak are high-topped, perfect to protect your ankles in tight scrambles. And to end with another similarity to the Rassler 2.0, the shoes themselves are good looking. Most canyoneering shoes are, we have to say, ugly. But Astral makes some really nice looking shoes that you’d be happy to wear in everyday life.
The Hiyak are absolutely as valid a canyoneering shoe as the Rassler 2.0.
When Five Ten’s canyoneer shoe went out of production, many die-hard fans turned to other Five Ten shoes to replace the gaping hole in their heart. And the Guide Tennie came out on top. Despite some of its qualities being what you would expect to be the opposite of ideal for a canyoneering shoe.
The Guide Tennies are actually made of 100% leather, the least ideal material for shoes that are gonna get wet. Despite not draining well, they air out nicely and don’t seem to degrade after many soakings. There’s also the option to melt holes into the front and back of the shoe for drainage.
But why would you go to this effort?
Because the Guide Tennies have the Stealth C4 outsole. The Stealth C4 was created for climbers. Not just climbing in general, but the most difficult terrains you could ever imagine experiencing. The C4 sticks to barely-there edges with confidence.
Despite some disadvantages in not being a dedicated water shoe, if you spend a lot of time in tough canyons, the Guide Tennies will keep you safe and secure in those difficult spots.
Another not strictly canyoneering shoe, but more than up to the task. The Techamphibian 3 is now actually a predecessor to the Techamphibian 4. However, the Techamphibian 4 has had way too many durability complaints to make the list. Luckily, the Techamphibian 3 is still widely available on the internet.
The Techamphibian shoe works well for practically every activity canyoneering can throw at you. They are super durable, free-draining, and light to swim and walk-in. The only real drawbacks of the Techampbian 3 is how grippy they are and the lack of ankle support. They’re noticeably less sticky when worn side by side with Stealth Rubber, MegaGrip or G.ss shoes.
The Merrell All Out Blaze water hiking shoes are the best hiking shoes for canyoneering. They’re cheap, comfy, lightweight and have excellent grip for scrambling and non-technical climbing and rappelling, even on sandstone.
Where they perform exceptionally well is water and wet conditions. They drain water exceptionally well and dry extremely quickly. The Vibram TC5+ outsole also grips admirably on wet, slippery rock (though not as good as the MegaGrip on the TX3’s).
While they’re great for both wet and dry canyons, the shoes do let in a lot of fine-grain sand. Along with this, while they work fantastically for canyoneering, they’re not built to handle super harsh environments like the typical sandstone slot stuff. So if you do decide to purchase these be prepared that they may not last as long as some others featured on this list.
While no longer in production, the Arc’teryx Acrux FL approach shoe is still available to purchase in various sizes online. The sizes left are primarily the women’s designs, but are absolutely suitable for both men and women. Just check you’re ordering the right size if you are male.
Having found that the Acrux FL is still available to purchase we had to include them in our list. They are some of the hardiest shoes you will ever purchase. The upper of the shoe utilizes various plastic compounds to create unrivaled durability. The nylon fabric of the shoe is coated with polyurethane. The polyurethane coating is used to protect the surface of the nylon from weathering and abrasion. The upper of the shoe uses a Thermoplastic polyurethane (a hardier type of polyurethane) protective film for added abrasion resistance.
Due to the PU coatings on the shoe, they are more rigid than most other canyoneering shoes. Though after some wearing in, they become supple and comfy. But if you’re planning to use them on a long canyon trip, try and wear them in before you go.
The grip in wet and dry conditions is fantastic, though not quite as good as the Stealth Rubber on the Five Ten and Adidas shoes and boots nor the G.ss rubber on the Astral shoes and boots. But...they make up for it in the fact they don’t let sand or gravel in like the others do. So if you have long, sandy hikes to and from a canyon, these will keep you the comfiest.
The Adidas Terrex Swift Solo shoes are a great budget priced canyoneering shoe. They are a hybrid of the now out of production Solo. Whilst the solo was better in some aspects such as having Adidas’ (or should we say Five Ten’s?) legendary Stealth Rubber, the Swift Solo still has some excellent features that are great for canyoneering.
They’re the best approach shoes for canyoneering or for use in dry canyons. But not really suitable for water or wet canyons. While they’re lightweight and dry super quick, they’re not made to be water shoes nor to handle wet terrain.
For dry environments however, they are fantastic. They are one of the best shoes for preventing sand and gravel from entering. Something most other canyoneering shoes don’t manage to do at all.
Canyoneering shoes are shoes that are adequate and suitable for all/most aspects of canyoneering. The reason you need a dedicated canyoneering shoe is that canyoneering involves a vast array of activities, from swimming, boulder scrambling, hiking, abseiling and rappelling.
You can see now why canyoneering shoes have a tough job.
Canyoneering shoes need to be hardy, waterproof, lightweight, sticky, grippy, comfortable, offer ankle support and drain freely and easily. The best footwear for canyoneering includes aspects of a climbing shoe, hiking shoe and water shoe.
La Sportiva, Adidas and Astral make some of the best shoes suitable for canyoning. But as a general guideline, you should wear shoes that are waterproof, lightweight, supportive and super grippy on both wet and dry surfaces.